Friday, April 29, 2011

I'm a grumpy-pants lately

I have kind of wanted to punch everyone lately.  This is because my thyroid medication is definitely off.  As a result, my mood starts to suffer and I get seriously edgy.  Like I have been lately.  So, I end up having zero patience and then everyone gets on my nerves immediately.  

This is a problem at work, since dealing w/ my clients requires patience.  So far I've been okay at keeping it in check and not revealing the fact that I want to push people over all the time.  Just secretly, inside, I'm constantly thinking, "Shut up! Stop talking! I'm annoyed with you..."  To be fair, I think that about most people when my thyroid meds are off, but at least I can tell other people (like Hat and my co-workers) that I'm crabby due to that reason.  I generally don't discuss my medical issues w/ my clients, however, so I end up biting my tongue quite often and reminding myself that I've got my doctor's appointment in a few days so I will stop feeling so ragey soon enough. 

Some things will always annoy me, though, regardless of whether my meds are right or not.  Such as the clients who begin their first conversations with me by informing me that they have already spoken with some other attorney that they sort of know and that attorney told them that they should tell me to do X, Y, or Z on their case.  Yeah?? Well, go hire that attorney then.  Otherwise, let me do my damn job.

I have no problem if people want to take what I tell them and go get a second opinion.  That's fine.  But, then, if you decide you dislike my advice, don't come back and tell me that some other attorney would do it this way or that way so I should do it like that too.  No, I shouldn't. If you prefer some other attorney's advice/case strategy, then go hire them.  But I'm not them.  Don't tell me what I need to do based on what someone else told you.  I don't need to do anything that I don't think it appropriate--you need to go hire them if you like them better.  Trust me, I won't be offended.  

That being said, I did find out today that my reputation as an attorney precedes me.  And in a good way, not in a terrifying, rumor-filled sort of way.  I recently learned that when one of my clients found out that I was their public defender, they were very happy because they had heard I am nice and that I am a good attorney.  I do try to be nice, so that's probably a fair assessment.   Even when I'm low on thyroid meds and feeling full of rage, I still try to be nice to my clients.  Not nice in a lie-to-them-and/or-give-them-unrealistic-assessments-of-their-cases sort of way.  Nice in an understanding-listen-to-them-explain-things-thoroughly-break-bad-news-gently-to-them sort of way.  

Am I a good attorney?  I think I'm fairly decent.  I know my stuff and I know enough to know what I don't know and I go find it out if I don't know it.  But, I certainly don't think I'm amazing.  I've heard this before from other clients--the buzz at the jail for awhile was that I was "the good public defender"--and I always think this is probably more of a situation of me being nice and that being translated into me being some amazing attorney or something.  I can name many, many more attorneys who are much more polished than I am in court.  There are many attorneys who know case law citations in their heads.  I see much more eloquent and smooth-talking attorneys in court than I sound.  I've read transcripts of myself in court--that's never not-embarrassing.  So, I think I'm a solid attorney.  I think I'm good in the sense that I am not a dolt and if you ask me to explain something to you, I generally know enough about it to explain it.  But, I don't characterize myself as some fantastic courtroom presence or something.  I'd rank myself as average, especially because I'm still a relatively new attorney.  Some things you just have to learn by experience and I've only got 2 years of experience. 

But, it's nice to know that my clients are generally happy with my representation of them on their cases.  Obviously if my incoming clients are hearing that I'm nice and good, that must mean that my current and/or former clients are satisfied.  And that's more important to me than being all smooth and fancy in court.  Because let's face it--I probably won't ever be all smooth and fancy in court.  I'm the same girl who complains about having to wear pants and would totally have pajamas on under my robe if I were a judge.  Smooth and fancy just aren't in my realm.  It's a victory if I don't say "uuuuhhhhh" more than 10 times in one court hearing. 

And in other news, WTF is up with the Twins?? Shameful lately!! Incredibly shameful.  But, at least I'm kicking butt in fantasy baseball.  My record so far is 2-1 and it looks like this week will make it 3-1.  So, at least there's that. 

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